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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rick Cox, Fade

Sometimes a piece of music and your own current mood are at geometric or logical opposites. In some cases that means you are playing the wrong music; at other times the music brings you to a different place and that is a very good thing. Today's music is of the latter variety. It is a 25 minute piece by Rick Cox, which he has entitled Fade (Cold Blue 0020). It is very open and spatial, calm and eternal, whereas my own mood is not, thanks in part to the trajectory of my life right now. So in fact I welcome the mood the music takes me, by my own willy-nilly surrender to it.

Cox's work features himself on a very ethereal electric guitar, Thomas Newman on piano, and Peter Freeman on bass and signal processors. Soundscapes of this sort can be busy and climactical, or they can flow like some natural process, a gentle wind across a plain, for example.

Cox's combination of gradually evolving enveloped guitar notes and chords, bass tone envelopes, and isolated piano soundings emerging from a tonally sustained landscape has that natural flow and a more processual unfolding than it has punctuated discrete sonic events. There are no jagged angles as much as gradual curvatures and singular directions.

The result is like a dream of floating in space, like a space walk, slowly drifting in an endless sea of nothingness with no set destination.

It is extraordinarily spatial in that way, very calming but filled with sonic interest. There is nothing programmatic as there might be in a New Age work that aims at the same effect. Here the musical ambience precedes the mood inducement. It is first and foremost a poem of tonal color.

And an excellent one at that.

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